Bangladesh detains boat with 116 Malaysia-bound migrants

DHAKA (AFP) - A joint patrol team of Bangladesh coast guards and navy detained a trawler in the Bay of Bengal Tuesday after it was cast adrift with 116 Malaysia-bound illegal migrants on board, a coast guard commander said.

"There were 116 illegal migrants in the fishing trawler. They are all Bangladeshis," coast guard station commander Dickson Chowdhury told AFP by phone.

Chowdhury said the trawler was cast adrift near Bangladesh's southern-most island of St. Martin's, which is close to the border with Myanmar, after its crew abandoned it for another ship.

"It looks like a fishing trawler from Myanmar and that its crew were also from Myanmar," he said, adding the crew may have abandoned the vessel after it was chased by Bangladeshi patrol boats.

Another coast guard official said a coast guard and a navy patrol boat successfully detained the ship at 5.30pm (1130 GMT).

"We learnt that it was heading to Malaysia with the illegal migrants," added Al Imran of the coast guard's press department.